We all are programmed to look forward to each New Year.  How many times have you heard, late in the previous year, “I just want this year to be over with.” “I look forward to next year when things will begin anew, things will be better. ”

The implication is that the mere change of the calendar 2010 carries with it the assurance that whatever it was in the previous year that was painful WILL be different…WILL be better…problems WILL be solved.  For those of us who have carried that expectation and been disappointed, let me call to your attention a different way of thinking.

Let me say here that living a life filled with hope and expectation is life-giving.  New beginnings ARE possible.  Just because last year was very difficult does not necessarily mean that this year will be equally difficult.

But a true framework of hope involves living a life of integrity, honesty, truth.  Remember, GRIEF TAKES AS LONG AS IT TAKES, whether that grief begins in the middle of the previous year or during the holidays just preceding the New Year.  The length of the grieving process often depends upon the willingness of family members and friends to give each other permission to grieve and to accept that there is no shortcut to working through the process of grief.

So looking at the balance of hope and truth, recognize that in this New Year there will be pain, there will be joy, there will be highs and lows – and we CAN live with HOPE, the hope that God has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us.

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Barbara Roberts

BARBARA M. ROBERTS has a degree in pastoral care and family counseling from Regis University, and she has been in the field of caring for those who hurt for many years. Her teaching and speaking, as well as one-on-one caregiving and pastoral counseling, have given her broad experience and exposure to the needs of others. "Listening, sharing in another's pain, and being privileged to pray with that person is a gift that God has given to me. I am blessed to be able to use the gift for what I hope continues to be to His glory." Barb was called by God at a very young age. Even as a young girl, her heart desired to know God and to serve Him. She is a Colorado native who grew up in the Denver area and has stayed close to home. In 1961, she married her husband, Ken, and her greatest joys involve her family -- husband, three children, and their amazing spouses, and nine grandchildren.

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